What Are Hiccups
Hiccups are an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm — the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in the process of breathing. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic “hic” sound.
Hiccups can appear out of the blue without warning, last a few minutes, and then vanish on their own in the same mysterious manner they arrived. In some cases, they can last for an hour or even hours. In extreme cases, that can last for years and even decades!
Hiccups may sporadically result from a large meal, alcoholic or carbonated beverages or sudden excitement. They are generally transient and do not last longer than a minute or two.
Hiccup Urban Myths And Folklore
There are a ton of urban myths and home remedies you can try, although there is no proof that any of them work effectively or consistently enough to be established as a clinically cited cure. Never let it be said that you were not able to test them for yourself, so here are the most predominant urban myth cures for the ‘hic-cups’.
- Hold your breath and swallow three times
- Drink a glass of water quickly
- Swallow a teaspoon of sugar
- Push your tongue to the roof of your mouth firmly for one minute.
- Gargle with water
- Have someone scare you
Of that list, the one most likely to cure your mouth burps is drinking a glass of room temperature water at normal speed. The cause of your hiccups is most likely a food blockage in the oesophagus. Potatoes, chicken, bread, pasta, and rice all have the ability to clump and stick, creating an obstruction or a sudden excitement preceded by a gasped-intake of air.
Where food is the cause, the body responds with hiccups in a bid to move the obstruction down into the stomach to prevent choking and death.
However, there are occasions when there is no rhyme or reason for developing a case, and folklore suggests that in these circumstances, someone afar is thinking about you fondly. It makes having the hiccups a lot more bearable if it is true!
If your hiccupping last more than two days or are severe enough to interfere with your ability to eat, breathe, or sleep, contact your GP, or visit an accident and emergency room for assessment. While in no format are they an emergency nor pose a life-threatening risk, they can be troublesome in rare cases and highly frustrating in all other cases for the sufferer.
Emergency rooms or your GP might be able to treat chronic cases with medication or run some tests to see why your hiccups are stubbornly persisting. Seek immediate attention if, along with hiccups, you have any stomach pain, chest pain, fever, shortness of breath, vomiting, or if you cough up blood.
Living Proof Hiccups Won’t Kill You
Charles Osborne is the current Guinness World Record Holder. Charles had the hiccups for 68 years, from 1922 to 1990.
Are Frequent Hiccups A Symptom Of Bigger Problems
The short answer is, yes, they can be. But don’t assume that you are headed for a medical disaster or diagnosis just because you get an isolated case of the mouth burps. Some illnesses for which continuing or reoccurring hiccups may be a symptom or early warning indicator include:
- Pleurisy of the diaphragm
- Disorders of the stomach or oesophagus
- Bowel diseases
- Bladder irritation.
- Liver cancer
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